Some people think that the author of Hebrews wrote his book to help the Christians in Judea. We know a few facts about this history of the first churches there.
Originally there was only one Christian church, in Jerusalem. It became a large church very quickly. The believers met in a public square by the temple (Godís house). There were about 5000 members. They included some priests (Acts 6:7).
Many members were poor. But the first Christians were generous. They shared their money and their possessions.
The government and the peopleís leaders were against the first Christians. There was some trouble, but the meetings continued for several years.
Then the trouble became more serious. People killed an important Christian called Stephen. On the same day, they started to force other Christians to leave their homes. Most Christians had to leave Jerusalem Ė they went into towns across Judea and Samaria (Acts 8:1). It became hard for them to get jobs. And they became very poor.
These troubles tested their trust in God. But they continued to obey God. And so they proved that their trust in God was genuine. The Christians were suffering greatly at this time Ė but they were not without a helper. Christ was their helper. And he was able!
Christians can be confident because Christ will help them. He hears their prayers. He acts powerfully in their lives, by the work of his Holy Spirit.
Christ knew such troubles too. For example, he spent the night before his death in the garden called Gethsemane. He knew what would happen to him. He felt deeply sad in his spirit. He felt such strain that blood dropped from his face onto the ground. It was hard and painful for him, too, to obey God.
But during that terrible test, Christ continued to trust God. He showed that his trust in God was genuine. He always obeyed God completely.
Such experiences in Jesusí life gave confidence to the first Christians. Those Christians knew that Christ was aware of their troubles. He had sympathy for them, because he had suffered similar troubles. And because he is Godís Son, he was able to help them.
He is able to help us today, too. He knows about our troubles. And he cares about us.
Next part: Jesus, Godís faithful Son (Hebrews 3:1-2)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.